(Thanks, Modest Goddess!)
Full interview available At the Bar.
I first learned about you when one of our authors on the Narrative posted the "Chocolate" performance which garnered a lot of immediate attention. I then spent forever tracking down your name. So, once and for all, I think it's time people got to know...who is this great TJ Medel?
I'm originally from New Jersey but now I reside in Bryant, Arkansas. I'm 23 now and my ethnicity is full Filipino. I'm currently in college at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and I'm working on my Bachelor's in Fine Arts.
Over on the Narrative, fans want to know what happened after the "Chocolate" performance. Were you approached? Did you get any phone numbers?
The funny thing about that is that EVERY TIME I perform "Dippin' in the Chocolate", I always get approached. If you listen closely my number is in the poem and I normally get called later. One woman I was dating was very cool with it but every time I would perform it, her face was just priceless. Now coming up with it wasn't easy; it was a journey. At one point in time I had a serious case of jungle fever and I definitely needed to write about it.
How long did the "Chocolate" piece take you to write? And tell us a little more about this woman who struck you down with the "fever".
"Dippin in the Chocolate" took a year to write. It started as a writing exercise at the 2008 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. I had a very rough draft at first but it was all there. Then when I got home I tried writing it in so many versions. Finally, the song "Slow Jamz" by Twista came on and it was a wrap. It totally tapped into my creative juices and completed the piece for good. That piece along with another poem, "Question", would help me win the 2009 Southern Fried Individual Poetry Slam. It seemed right that where it started is where it would win.
Now, it wasn't a woman that struck me since it was more so WOMEN. At Southern Fried, I'm usually one of the few poets there of Asian decent and being surrounded by beautiful black women for 5 days can definitely take a toll on you. Hence, the piece "Dippin in the Chocolate".